Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Friday, July 13, 2007

Week Three of Bloom, I Discover Bugs

This is week 3 of bloom for my six ladies and I’m feeding them a gourmet diet. My nutrient mix contains the super premium miracle fert, Connoisseur A & B, as well as a whole array of supplements, additives, root colonizers, and bloom boosters from Advanced Nutrients Medical.

Last week I switched from Bud Blood to Big Bud Powder, in order to establish building blocks for bud formation. Big Bud is meant to be administered weeks 2, 3, and 4 only, to be followed by Overdrive during weeks 5 and 6 of bloom.

By using these three bloom boosters in sequence (never at the same time) I am helping to enhance the size, girth, and weight of my buds.

Connoisseur alone would guarantee huge buds. By using Bud Blood, Big Bud, and Overdrive, I am aiming to get humungous buds, such as the thirty colossal-sized ones I was blessed with last time.

Last week I sprayed my ladies with Protector. Week 2 of bloom is the last recommended window for spraying with this Potassium Bicarbonate product to protect my cannabis plants from the insidious fungus that causes Powdery Mildew.

Advanced Nutrients warns us against using Protector beyond the second week of bloom in its Advancedpedia entry. It seems that Protector causes pH changes that inhibit the growth of the fungus. Unfortunately, the same changes could alter the color of your buds or their bouquet, if you spray after week 2 of bloom.

Colossal Bud Blast, on the other hand, can be used throughout both the vegetative and the bloom cycles of your marijuana plants. This is an organic foliar spray that nourishes the plant through the stomata on the leaves.

I use it as an addition boost for my potentially prize-winning buds. It contains easily absorbable organic nutrients that increase floral growth rate, bud weight, and resin production.

I don’t spray Colossal Bud Blast under hot lights, since the dried residue on the leaves could result in toxic salinity. Instead, I rise early in the morning and spray using just one incandescent bulb, thus giving the leaves a chance to absorb the nutrients, before I turn my 600W HPS light on.

50% of Colossal Bud Blast is made from a concentrated base-tea derived from bat guano high in phosphates, azomite, as well as seaweed, alfalfa, and krill meal. Azomite is a natural source of minerals and trace elements, that is mined from deep within the earth.

The other half of the formula in made up of a solution of 22 L-amino acids, which are the building blocks of plant growth, as well as Humic acid containing humates, which act as chelators and surfactants to aid in the absorption of the other ingredients in Colossal Bud Blast.

The other day I panicked as I discovered some tiny holes on the leaves of one of my ladies. I got my magnifying glass and examined the plant carefully. Sure enough, I detected the beginnings of an invasion by a tiny flying insect.

Barricade has made the cell walls of my cannabis plants thick, so the invaders must have had a tough time piercing the leaves. But parasites are persistent, in my experience, so some of them succeeded.

I called in a friend of mine who has more experience with bugs that attack cannabis, and he confirmed it. Thrips had invaded my grow room. “But I spray with Scorpion Juice regularly,” I protested.

“Think of how many pests and pathogens your plants could be suffering from if you hadn’t,” was his retort. “What do I do now?” was my next question.

We looked through my supplies from Advanced Nutrients in an adjacent storage room and found an old container of Bug Away, which the company is not currently distributing on account of a labelling dispute.

“You can start by spraying your whole room with this,” said my friend. “But first remove the infected leaves and branches, if need be. Thrips vector about 20 different viral diseases, so you don’t want to take a chance.”

Thrips are tiny (less than 1mm) insects of the Order of Thysanoptera. They have fringed wings. Over 5,000 species of thrips have been discovered by scientists.

Some thrips feed on mites, so they are considered beneficial. However, most feed on plants, so they are classified as pests. They feed on plant cells by piercing them with paired maxillary stylets, which act as a feeding tube.

Only one stylet is fully formed and it is used to pierce the plant, while both serve to suck out the plant juice. These pests attack hundreds of different plant species, especially during the flowering stage when they also feed on the pollen.

My friend suggested introducing effective biocontrol agents such as Anthocorid bugs or Phytoseiid mites. These are tiny enough to penetrate the hiding places of the thrips and consume their eggs and larvae.

“Continue using Bug Away, Barricade, and Scorpion Juice. These products along with the biocontrol should take care of your problem. Better act fast, because thrips reproduce very rapidly.”

That last statement started my heart pumping so I rushed to my favorite garden shop and had them order the biocontrol bugs or mites. I urged the owner to have them sent to him by courier.

I spent the next three hours examining every inch of plant surface, including the buds with the swelling calyxes, using an extra high magnification lens. I asked Claire to help me and she did, using a lens of her own.

The bugs were only on one plant and we had to remove two entire branches, buds and all. That hurt, since I remembered the size of my last harvest. I still had nearly 30 processed buds to remind me.

I sprayed all six plants with Bug Away and I’m calling my garden shop on a daily basis to urge them to get me the biocontrols as quickly as possible.

I know that some insects are necessary for ecological reasons, but between mosquitoes and thrips this summer, my love of the insect world has definitely diminished.

posted by Wes @ 2:26 PM


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